Purple has now turned blue... purple is joy, yet blue is hope!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Travel - Australia.Sydney.NSW.VIC.Melbourne Aug 30 - Sep 8 2013 - Part 1

A long procrastinated blog. Guess I soon acted like a moody writer. I have this long procrastinated posts (to be exact, it will be in series), yet I am aways waiting for my *mood* to appear. Soon when I am about to take on my 1st sentence, get to know I am about to leave the house for another function in 1 hour time.... it has been a hot Sunday afternoon, which I had been lazying around.

Back to my travel diary. First, I would thank Air Asia for their affordable air fare made all to the South island. It captured many of my 1st timer's venture along the trip. My very 1st visit to Sydney (I have done several business visits to Melbourne), this complete my ever curiosity on the never ending Sydney-Melbourne likings and debate, always reminded me of the Penang-KL's version debate over food rating. I will summarize my own opinion on the very last episode of this travel diary.

We traveled in a group of 4, 2 couples to be exact. That made some company to chit chat with throughout the journey. We get to try more varieties of foods too. Our flight made it just nice, reaching out destination around 7AM local time. Sorry to those who didn't had good sleep over the flight, as our itinerary will be packed over the days, but we still get to sleep late in the morning, because it was a free & easy DIY trip!

As much as we been greeted by the airport custom, I was almost caught red-handed when I realized I had some small packets of instant coffee in my luggage. [it is most important to not bringing any food items, be it processed or not into the land of Australia, else better to declare than found] But I was being lucky that morning, when the officer first asked am I traveling alone... I answered no, and showed him my partner. Officer said "OK, go lane 8". We were nervous! And the long trail of lane 8 was totally empty, which later led us out to the main door. Oh goodness, thank god there were no detention happened. At the airport, we then grab ourselves 2 prepaid SIM card with data plan, approached by an Chinese for Lebara Mobile. Plan was alright, but I find it too little for a 200Mb data especially when I need to teetered from partner's tab. It can be difficult to get its value top-up, because its not the common telco. Anyway, paying just $10 for the entire trip wasn't too bad.

DAY1 - Upon checking in at Springfield Lodge, our 3D2N lodging place. Immediately we started a over 10KM journey. Touring some tourist spots with just "bus no.11". I love their park, with just 16 degree Celsius made perfect weather to walk around. Unfortunately, I was not on a right attire (more like suitable for Melbourne, sigh).
Lovely weather

Sydney CBD
Other than walking, we took the boat (another common form of public transport) from Circular Quay to Manly beach. Unfortunately, time weren't enough for us, late evening on a winter is rather not colorful. It's a place full of water sports activity, pretty like to shop for some beach attire, too bad... Upon returning to CBD, when it was almost 7pm. I remember I grabbed a pork gourmet burger and it was superbly good!
Manly Wharf
Manly Beach

DAY 2 - Day tour with Anderson Tour to Blue Mountain. A great family business tour agency, worth every penny for their excellent service. Lovely tour guide, cum bus driver, cum food arranger made us feel comfortable. Time management is the key in respect to everyone's time.

Blue Mountain with 3 sisters. The main attractions. The trip includes visit to aboriginal cultural place. I recalled most was a place called Leura town with the famous Josophan Fine Chocolate. It was my 1st time buying fine chocolate from the boutique! lovely fine little choco, I recalled the mango chili favor! One thing that, it's ever affordable to pay for such fresh and fine choco there.

Blue Mountains
Aboriginal Cultural Center
Leura Town
I recalled our comfortable lunch with fish & chips, fresh broccoli, apple crumble and coffee... yummms! We then had a walk at the cliff tops and valley. Wind was cold, we had a few great shots at the cliff and rocks! Heard there was a missing man who didn't made his way back couple of weeks ago... 

Guide cliff top walk
Last excitement was at the Featherdale Wildlife park. I saw the Kaola and Kangaroos! To some extend, there are other interesting creatures, like the naughty Tasmania, bats, etc. Lastly, we were dropped at Sydney Olympic Park to catch a boat back to Circular Quay. 
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Oww! Kaola!
Sydney Olympic Park
DAY 3 - Another free & easy walking day. I need to get my rented car sorted out. Great thing is almost all the car rental shops are just along the same street behind our lodge, the Kings Cross Road (Hmm... you will wonder if you know this place well) Something like our Jalan Alor :).

Other than that, our morning was spend walking towards another section of CBD. More towards the Chinatown area. 1st stop was St. Mary's Cathedral. Took some lovely shots there too, it was sunny that morning. Lunch at Chinatown was not bad, we hit to the food court instead. All sorts of Chinese cuisine, from HK roast pork to all kinds of noodle. It was not real great, but I would call it soothing.
St. Mary's Cathedral
Queen Victoria Building (QVB), a very old and classical building. Been refurbished a few times and maintained well, especially the washroom. It looks as if I have turned the clock to 18th century. An uncle who brief us on the building on our 1st day when we were looked lost, told us that some brief history about this building. Apparently, it was refurbished and owned by a Malaysian, to be exact Ipoh sometime ago. That brought me into curiosity to check out its Wiki. I managed to spot the huge classical clock in the building (its a high end shopping mall today), it stated the word Ipoh Ltd. in there. Impressed!

QVB's clock, by Ipoh Ltd
The rest of the day was to meet up a friend at The Rock area. In order to waste some time, and to save some energy, we waiting for a free public bus somewhere near Chinatown. It was a great experience waiting, observing the locals as well as its impressive and hostile bus service, they are such immobility friendly. Saw bus driver will walk down a bus, pull out the steps from the bus, and finally pushed a wheeled chair uncle up into the bus.

The Rock, a place with many bar & dining place. I was impressed by the Jack Mundey place. A person who was such into environmentalist. Today, they planted pots with green vegetables and kumquats to remember him.
Kumquat plant with vegetables 
Jack Mundey Place
 We waited and waited... for the night that comes!

Evening @ The Rock
Our dinner cum meeting up a friend, who brought us to this German bierhaus with pork knuckle and German beer. Awesome dinner made us extremely full. This made us had a walk to Darling harbor, which we need to give a miss, for other visit...

Beer with Pork Knuckle
Life in OZ can't complete without the shopping for wine. We bumped into liquor shop at least once a day. I was always busy checking their price, versus what we have back home. I'm always attracted by the pricing, unfortunately I am not a good drinker.

All kinds of Sparkling Wines
Good nite peep! Time for me to rest my arms... till the next part of my travel diary. :)